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By SUEP
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January 29, 2006 – A journey to Santiago And Surrounds, Chile in South America


Santiago, Vina Del Mar, & Valparaiso

Santiago looks pretty similar to some of the cities in the United States. One unique observation is that they have ice cream stores everywhere (ice cream is a weakness I have)!



a view of part of the main plaza in Santiago


city view with the Andes in the background


Another observation I noticed is that quite a few Chileans seem to be either ignorant or racist or both against Asians. For example, I took a day trip to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso to visit another seaside town that Santiagoans go to. I was walking from Nobel Prize winner poet laureate Pablo Neruda's home (cool house by the way, overlooks the city and to the ocean), and a bunch of kids started derogatorally going, "ching chong chang, norng, nwong, ning."

Another time, I was walking around the city center in Santiago, and this father and son were begging for some money from everyone that passed them. I just ignored them and the kid threw trash on me and not on anyone else. I don't know what's wrong with some of these people here. I've experienced some ignorance/racism in South America (e.g., many believe that all Chinese people have slanty eyes), but not to this blatant degree.

One more thing I noticed is their accents. People in Chile turn the double 'll' sound into a 'sch' sound. For example, 'pollo' would be pronounced as 'poscho,' 'vanilla' would be spoken as 'vanischa.' They would correct you too if you didn't say it right. Interesting.

***

Vina del Mar and Valparaiso are cute little coastal towns an hour and a half up north from Santiago. I visited Neruda's house, which is now a museum. I also saw some traditional Chilean dancing in the main square in Valparaiso. Then I lounged around on a beach in Vina del Mar. I wanted to go into the water, but was in a rush in the morning, and so I forgot my bathing suit. The water is quite green and rather cold.



view of Nobel Prize winner poet laureate Pablo Neruda's house from the garden


a beach in Vina del Mar


When I got back to Santiago, I met up with Rick and we went to a salsa club in the Bella Vista area. We ended up having a blast - I highly recommend at least going once when you're in Latin America.




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